SHRM-Cornell Survey Shows How Companies Find and Recruit People with Disabilities

Apr 11, 2012

Alexandria, Va. – Organizations that successfully recruit and hire employees with disabilities are likely to follow 10 must-have policies and practices according to a joint survey released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Cornell University ILR School Employment and Disability Institute (EDI).

The survey shows that 61 percent of human resource professionals said their organization “includes people with disabilities explicitly in its diversity and inclusion plan.”

Also key is that 59 percent of organizations have a policy that “requires subcontractors and suppliers to adhere to disability nondiscrimination requirements.”

The hiring organizations also “train HR staff and supervisors on effective interviewing of people with disabilities” said 58 percent of respondents.

Roughly six in 10—57 percent—of HR managers surveyed said their organization “has relationships with community organizations that promote the employment of people with disabilities.”

Additionally, organizations must “actively recruit people with disabilities” said 47 percent of HR professionals surveyed.

“Another critical must-have is to cultivate a senior management team committed to recruiting and hiring employees with disabilities,” said Mark Schmit, vice president of research at SHRM.

“The survey provides fresh perspectives on how to proactively recruit and retain a significantly under-utilized pool of American talent,” said Susanne M. Bruyère, Ph.D., CRC, professor of disability studies, and director of the EDI at the Cornell University ILR School.

The survey also shows a distinction between the most-used, must-have policies and practices versus the most-effective of the 10. Some of the most effective practices are not the most used in the group.

Among the findings:

  • 45 percent report “very effective” while 37 percent think it “somewhat effective” –training HR staff and supervisors on effective interviewing of people with disabilities;
  • 38 percent report “very effective” while 30 percent say “somewhat effective”– requiring subcontractors and suppliers to adhere to disability nondiscrimination requirements;
  • 34 percent report “very effective” while 31 percent say “somewhat effective”–creating explicit organizational goals related to the recruitment of hiring people with disabilities;
  • 33 percent report “very effective” while 37 percent say “somewhat effective”–creating internship programs or similar programs that target people with disabilities; and
  • 29 percent report “very effective” while 36 percent say “somewhat effective”– including people with disabilities explicitly in the organizations diversity and inclusion plan.

The survey includes responses from 662 HR professionals from SHRM’s membership and will be released in three parts between now and summer 2012. The first part, highlighted here, focuses on recruitment and hiring. Part two will focus on accessibility an accommodation. Part three will examine retention and advancement.

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About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at


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